Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How I Met Your Mother draws closer to conclusion

CBS's How I Met Your Mother, whether it does a ninth season next year or not, is undeniably drawing closer to the series finale. As such, it has been callously ending all of the non-final relationships of the main characters during a so-called "autumn of breakups," and setting up everyone for who they will be with in the end. This trend continues last night in "Splitsville."

After Ted (Josh Radnor) dumps Victoria (Ashley Williams) last week, and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Quinn (Becki Newton) end things a few episodes ago, that leaves only Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Nick (Michael Trucco). This is the pair that most obviously should break up, as despite Nick's hot bod and the awesome sex, he is dumb, and Robin has no interest in anything long-term with him.

Actually ending things with Nick proves hard to Robin. Not because she doesn't want to hurt him, though that plays a small role in delaying the inevitable, but because she just wants to keep having fun. After a couple of serious relationships, it's not a surprise that Robin likes to blow off some steam. But Nick isn't the man she will marry, and considering her wedding to Barney has to happen before the show ends, and that could be this spring, the plot must move forward.

Barney's grand declaration of love, which he claims is fake in order to get Robin off the hook with Nick, is easy to see through for viewers and Robin alike. I thought How I Met Your Mother might try to drag it out, a la most sitcoms, by having Robin believe Barney's insistence that he isn't being sincere. Thankfully, this is not the case, and Robin calls him on his stuff, even if Barney remains cagey at the end of "Splitsville."

How quickly will things progress between them now? I think there is a clue in last week's installment, where Victoria insisted to Ted that a renewed relationship picks up where it left off, not restarting back at zero. Barney and Robin grew pretty heavy before. A quick engagement is not out of the question.

And then, once we get the second pair of supporting players out of the way, we will finally get to how Ted meets the titular mother. I hope.

"Splitsville" does bring a slightly better than average plot for Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel). With romance playing such a pivotal role this year, the old married couple with the baby have been reduced mainly to goofy bits that don't add much to the series overall. But in this episode, they are sex-deprived because of said infant until Ted can rescue them, and that is a little amusing and rings of realism.

How I Met Your Mother continues to fall short of the heights it hit in early seasons, but if the current trends are any indication, we might still be in for a heck of a series finale. The only question is, will that occur six months from now, or eighteen months?

How I Met Your Mother airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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